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My first CP batch in 3 years - it didn't go so well

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PrincessMommy

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I'm bummed. I finally got all the ingredients and made my first batch of soap in 3 years. I could not get it to trace.

I don't have a stick blender and tried in vain to hand stir. The only other thing I think I did wrong was I accidentally added 1oz (or less) too much palm oil. I tried to pull some of it out but it was pretty runny and mixed in with the other oils.

I did attempt to heat it back up again as it seemed to be getting cold. Then it got a little grainy. It seemed so close to tracing too and looked lovely. After over an hour of stirring I put it in a mold. I don't know what I'll end up with tomorrow... but I'm bummed. I so wanted the first one to work.
 
G

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So sorry! How about you telling us your recipe? Unless it's a very small batch 1 oz shouldn't have any great effect except to result in more superfatting or too much superfatting, but shouldn't stop your tracing. Also, what temperature? Presuming it's CP...

Get a stick blender. They're only about $20 at Walmart. Hamilton Beach brand.

Anyway if you give the details maybe somebody can help you figure out what went wrong.
 

PrincessMommy

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Yeah thanks...

20oz. Almond oil
5 oz avacado
11oz coconut
13 oz sunflower
5 oz palm

19 oz water/ 8.5 oz lye

I got it from Snowdrift Farms website.

I think I'll be making a trip to Walmart in the near future.
 
G

Guest

I ran it through SoapCalc and I'm a bit puzzled. The nearest I can reproduce what you've got is this:

20oz. Almond oil
5 oz avacado
11oz coconut
13 oz sunflower
5 oz palm

19.1 oz water/ 7.9 oz lye (30% solution)

And that's with superfatting set to 0% which I've never seen before. That superfatting is also your safety factor due to scale inaccuracy.

You see the difference between your recipe and what I get in SoapCalc is that you have 8.5 oz lye and I can't coax SoapCalc to put any more than 8.2 oz lye. With a normal 5% superfatting it produces 7.8 oz lye.

Honestly I'm a relative beginner and maybe the experts can figure it out, but it looks to me like the recipe has too much lye. I tried to find it at Snowdrift but there's too many recipes there to look at them all and without the name I couldn't find yours.

Now where it gets more puzzling is that too much lye would probably make your soap trace pretty quick, instead of just staying liquid, so I don't understand what's going on.

Well maybe the experts can help you figure it out. I'd advise not repeating that recipe until you can confirm that it is correct.


EDIT: corrected SoapCalc's lye result
 

Martin

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Try hand stirring for 12 hours(not straight thru) I would stir for an hour put it down for 15 mins then start again. That is what happened on my first batch,I finally just put it in the mold and it turned out fine.

Sonja
 
G

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Ouch!!!!! I've never gone more than 15 minutes to trace, using SB! :) Even with pure EVOO!!! :) My Castile came out good too, love it.
 

Martin

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I live in Fl and it was a hot day. I don't know if that had any thing to do with it. So that is when I went and got a SB. The same recipe now takes about 10 min.

Sonja
 
G

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Heck, you don't need to spend $20 on a stick blender. I use a plastic paint mixer attached to a 18hp electric drill :twisted: Yeah, thats a fast trace! The mixer cost about $4
 

PrincessMommy

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Lovehound said:
Honestly I'm a relative beginner and maybe the experts can figure it out, but it looks to me like the recipe has too much lye. I tried to find it at Snowdrift but there's too many recipes there to look at them all and without the name I couldn't find yours.

Now where it gets more puzzling is that too much lye would probably make your soap trace pretty quick, instead of just staying liquid, so I don't understand what's going on.

Well maybe the experts can help you figure it out. I'd advise not repeating that recipe until you can confirm that it is correct.
Thanks for looking over it. Yes, I can see your conclusion that it should have set too quickly. Doesn't make a lot of sense.

I also consider myself a newbie since I don't make soap all that often. Every time I do it again its like starting over.
 

PrincessMommy

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La Oberhasli said:
Heck, you don't need to spend $20 on a stick blender. I use a plastic paint mixer attached to a 18hp electric drill :twisted: Yeah, thats a fast trace! The mixer cost about $4
I like this idea too. I could use my husband's drill. But do you have trouble with it splattering??
 

PrincessMommy

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just to update:

I checked it this morning. It has set completely (I could probably cut it) and is still a bit warm. Perhaps its worked out after all. I was going to add color and fragrance but decided not to when it would trace (didn't want to waste the ingredients), now I wish I had done that. I just hope it didn't turn out to caustic.
 
G

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I've rechecked the calculations, but this time did it manually and got similar results:

20 oz almond oil (sweet) * .136 = 2.72
5 oz avacado oil * .133 = 0.665
11 oz coconut oil * .190 = 2.09
13 oz sunflower seed oil * .134 = 1.742
5 oz palm oil * .141 = 0.705

total lye 7.922 oz

Two things bother me. The first one is that this is even lower than SoapCalc's lye calculation. I don't see how anything can be wrong with the above manual calculation. I double checked my math, I used Karen Miller's SAP values, and I double Miller's SAP values against one of my books which had substantially the same values.

Second, PrincessMommy I suggest you be very careful about using your soap and test it first either with pH strips or by the tongue zap test. There is every reason to believe that you have TOO MUCH LYE in your soap and that you may have produced an alkaline result. I don't know if the alkalinity is a problem but I urge you to exercise caution.
 

cdwinsby

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I just use a stainless steel whisk ($5) and get a trace in about 5 minutes without fail. I also use a little Grapefruit Seed Extract. I think an SB would trace my recipes too quickly.
 
G

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I've gone over SoapCalc's results a second time and must have erred yesterday (above), since repeating SoapCalc gives the same answer that I manually calculated today (2 posts above). Here's the way I had to set SoapCalc to get the same numbers and maximum lye:

superfat 0%
lye concentration 29.43%

almond sweet 37%, 20 oz
avocado 9.3%, 5 oz
coconut 20.4%, 11 oz
sunflower 24%, 13 oz
palm 9.3%, 5 oz

water 19 oz
lye 7.92 oz

So my conclusion is that the original recipe has too much lye. It has 8.5 oz lye but should have no more than 7.9 oz and that's without any superfatting. With a superfatting of 5% the lye amount is 7.53 oz, an even greater discrepancy on the part of the original recipe.

For that combination of oils I would use 7.5 oz of lye, or no more than 7.9 oz at which point the soap goes into alkalinity.
 

PrincessMommy

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Lovehound said:
Second, PrincessMommy I suggest you be very careful about using your soap and test it first either with pH strips or by the tongue zap test. There is every reason to believe that you have TOO MUCH LYE in your soap and that you may have produced an alkaline result. I don't know if the alkalinity is a problem but I urge you to exercise caution.
Yes, I will do this for sure. Thanks for your help.
 

Laurie

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cdwinsby said:
I just use a stainless steel whisk ($5) and get a trace in about 5 minutes without fail. I also use a little Grapefruit Seed Extract. I think an SB would trace my recipes too quickly.
This is what I often do as my RTCP soap usually goes to rapid trace with SB.

Laurie
 
G

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PrincessMommy said:
Thanks for your help.
The pleasure was mine. :) Actually I learned a fair amount just by going through the thought processes and reading up and working out some exercises in trying to help you figure out what was wrong with your batch. The biggest reason I'm participating in this forum is to improve my knowledge.

I even learned the how and why of converting NaOH SAP values into KOH SAP values. As it turns out SoapCalc has only the KOH values stored and converts them on-the-fly to NaOH values. (I have a habit of taking things apart to find out what makes them tick! :))

I suggest you learn to use one of the lye calculators so that you can check your own recipes. You'll have more control over things like superfatting and lye concentration, and you'll be able to get some quality values to compare recipes with, like hardness, lather, etc. It's kind of fun actually. :)
 

PrincessMommy

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Lovehound said:
PrincessMommy said:
I suggest you learn to use one of the lye calculators so that you can check your own recipes. You'll have more control over things like superfatting and lye concentration, and you'll be able to get some quality values to compare recipes with, like hardness, lather, etc. It's kind of fun actually. :)
The irony is that I used to do a bit of that years ago. I hated following a recipe to the "t" and was always adding or subtracting ingredients to make it my own But this time, since it had been so long, I thought I'd make it easy on myself and stick with a recipe! LOL I guess that'll teach me.
 
G

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Well the only way you can add and subtract ingredients—if they are base oils or fats—is to calculate lye values for the new ingredients, either by doing a manual calculation using SAP values or by plugging it into a lye calculator. Otherwise your lye won't be right.

I like doing exactly the same thing, fiddling up the recipe. What I do is type the original recipe into SoapCalc first, and then I open up a new browser window and open a second copy of SoapCalc, put in the same numbers and make sure I've got the same answers. Then you change things in the second SoapCalc, adding and subtracting oils, changing the percentages, etc. and you look at the quality numbers. You can see changes in hardness, cleansing, conditioning, bubbly & creamy lather... If you're a real freak (I'm not enough of an expert) you can look at the fatty acid components too.

I doubt anybody will tell you the numbers are cut and dried, but you can see the relative differences between different soap formulations. Like for example if one soap has hardness 46 and the other has hardness 21, you know the second one will be a lot softer soap. If I compare my pure Castile's bubbly lather 0 creamy lather 15 with my shampoo bar bubbly 36 creamy 36, not only do you expect a difference but in fact it proves out in the soap I made. The Castile produces very little lather where the shampoo lathers up a storm just like you'd want shampoo to do.

Without a calculator you'd have to be some kind of genius or expert to know all the effects of oil and fat changes in your recipe.
 

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